By Econowatch - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
SIGNS OF THE TIMES:
IT’S PAYBACK TIME
• Yale: prestigious university and now, debt collector. The school, along with the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, has resorted to suing former grads who haven’t paid back student loans, reports Bloomberg. The money is needed to replenish loan pools for future needy students.
• Toyota recently regained its title as the world’s biggest automaker from General Motors. But it still trails in a key area: pickup truck sales. Last week it unveiled a new version of its Tundra truck, hoping to win over buyers normally loyal to Detroit brands.
• Amazon was granted a U.S. patent this month for a marketplace to sell used digital media, like movies, video games, music and ebooks. A second-hand digital market could be worth billions but will undoubtedly face fierce opposition from the entertainment industry.
• Is Facebook losing its friends?A survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found 61 per cent of members have, at one time, taken a break from the website for several weeks or more. Twenty per cent said they were too busy to log on.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4:50 PM - 3 Comments
Andrew Steele notes new findings in electoral science.
Professors at Yale University studied the impact of three forms of voter communications by campaigns on improved turnout. They used a 30,000 person sample in 1998 for elections in New Haven, Connecticut. The findings are stark: Telephone canvassing has no significant impact on improving voter turnout. Direct mail has only a small impact on improving turnout. The method of communication that most improves turnout — and is the method that can best win your election — is face-to-face canvassing by volunteers.
The team at Yale hypothesizes that the drop in turnout since the 1960s in American politics is due to the decline in political activism and thus a decline in volunteers to knock on doors.
By Kenneth Whyte - Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 2 Comments
Economist Robert Shiller talks with Kenneth Whyte about human behaviour and the economy, real estate, fear and Harper
Robert Shiller is a professor of economics at Yale and the bestselling author of Irrational Exuberance, in which he predicted the collapse of the stock market. He was also one of the first economists to accurately foresee the devastation that would follow the subprime mortgage crisis. In Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism, written with George Akerlof, he argues that today’s markets are as much driven by human psychology as by finance. Shiller uses the idea of “animal spirits,” a term invented by revolutionary economist John Maynard Keynes, to describe the powerful effect of human emotion and confidence on the economy, and to push for more government intervention and bigger stimulus packages in the U.S. and Canada.
Q: Looking at what’s going on out in the world right now, with all the greed giving way to fear, are we surprised at the notion that the economy’s being driven by “animal spirits”? We can see it all around us, can’t we?
A: Depends on who you talk to. There is definitely an element of human thinking that’s resistant to that idea, especially in the economics profession, because the history of economic thought has tended to emphasize the rational side of human behaviour and it tends not to be aware of or even think about social psychology and culture. Economists’ favourite thing is to talk about the central bank and that’s it, that’s what they’re expert on, so that’s what they think about. The idea that there’s ever some sociological change, a shift in the culture that’s driving the market, is just foreign to economists’ thinking, so they miss it.